The landmark Charleston Place hotel will be sold to the family company of local billionaire businessman Ben Navarro, the City Paper confirmed Thursday.
Beemok Capital, the company that handles Navarro family investments, said in a press release Thursday it has a “definitive agreement” to acquire the hotel from international hotelier Belmond. The hotel will be run by a newly formed entity, Beemok Hospitality.
A Belmond spokesperson confirmed plans for the sale late Thursday. Terms of the deal, expected to close this year, were not disclosed.
The downtown complex that takes up a whole city block, flanked by Meeting, King and Market streets, will serve as the “flagship asset” of Beemok, and the company is planning “substantial investments” in the property.
Sources told the City Paper in June the 433-room hotel was on the block for up to $500 million — $1.2 million per room.
French luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton acquired Belmond’s worldwide portfolio of high-end hotels and resorts in 2019 for $3.2 billion, including Charleston Place.
Navarro said he and his wife Kelly visited the Charleston Place hotel during its 1986 opening, calling the deal “a full circle moment for our family.”
“The opening of Charleston Place transformed the city into a premier destination for visitors from around the world and inspired revival and growth in the entire community,” Navarro said in the press release. “Today, we are extraordinarily proud to call Charleston our home, and thrilled about the opportunity to become a steward of this incredible property.”
Mayor John Tecklenburg said it’s good to hear Charleston Place will be locally owned, calling Navarro “a world-class businessman, an extraordinary philanthropist, and a remarkable civic leader.”
“We’re very excited that this iconic property will now be in such outstanding local hands,” he said. “This is great news for Charleston Place, great news for King Street and the whole downtown area, and great news for everyone who loves our city and cares about its future.”
Navarro, who owns Charleston-based Sherman Capital and founded the nonprofit Meeting Street Schools, has been on a bit of a buying spree in recent years. In 2018, he bought the yearly WTA tennis tournament on Daniel Island, now known as the Credit One Cup, and made a bid to buy the Carolina Panthers when the team was for sale.
Beemok Hospitality investments also include Hotel Domestique in Travelers Rest and the Daniel Island tennis complex where the Credit One Cup takes place.
The Charleston Place first opened as a hotel operated by The Omni in 1986. At the time, it was the product of controversial maneuvering by a young mayor, Joe Riley, to acquire and redevelop the land. Now, it’s seen as as a critical piece of downtown revitalization in the first decade Riley’s 40-year tenure.